Res­i­dents warned to ex­pect 5% tax rise

Rochdale Observer - - NOSTALGIA - Rochda­le­ob­[email protected]­

ROCHDALE res­i­dents could see their coun­cil tax bills rise by around 5 per cent next year, ac­cord­ing to a town hall re­port.

Full de­tails are not sched­uled for re­lease un­til a bud­get-setting meet­ing in Fe­bru­ary, but of­fi­cers have in­cluded a set of likely pro­pos­als as part of fi­nan­cial prepa­ra­tion works for 2019/20. They could see some house­holds fac­ing hikes of more than £90 a year.

With the coun­cil fac­ing a fund­ing gap of £3.5m, leader Allen Brett has con­firmed the ‘gen­eral levy’ el­e­ment of the bill will rise by 2.99pc – the max­i­mum al­lowed with­out call­ing a local ref­er­en­dum.

And the ring-fenced adult so­cial care precept will also rise by 1pc – the most the coun­cil can in­crease it by with­out go­ing over the 6pc-over­three-years limit set by the gov­ern­ment in 2017/18.

For plan­ning pur­poses, Rochdale Coun­cil is an­tic­i­pat­ing the May­oral Gen­eral Precept could be hiked by a max­i­mum of £8 on band D prop­er­ties.

The Mayor’s of­fice is yet to put for­ward its pro­pos­als, which will have to go out for a pe­riod of pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion.

But should they opt for the mea­sures set out above, those in Band D prop­er­ties – val­ued at be­tween £68,001 and £88,000 – will pay an ex­tra £92.70 per year.

Coun Brett says the in­creases are es­sen­tial for the coun­cil to set a bal­anced bud­get.

High­light­ing that the town hall has had to ab­sorb £178m in fund­ing cuts since 2009, Coun Brett said: “No­body likes in­creases in charges, but I would say to peo­ple the gov­ern­ment has taken away hun­dreds of mil­lions from our bud­get, if you had that taken away, would you be able to bal­ance the books? The an­swer is ‘no’.”

He added: “A 1pc rise in Rochdale raises £6,000 whereas in the leafy sub­urbs of Manch­ester it raises £8,000 or £9,000.”

Con­ser­va­tive leader Coun Ash­ley Dearn­ley said it was a ques­tion of balanc­ing the need to fund ser­vices and peo­ple’s abil­ity to pay, ad­ding: “We need to get more money in to pro­vide ser­vices, and none of us want to see the gov­ern­ment putting up in­come tax. But we should not al­ways think we can go right to the lim­its the gov­ern­ment al­lows us to.”

He said the 2.99pc in­crease and adult so­cial care pre­cepts were prob­a­bly fair, but felt the pub­lic needed to see re­sults for any in­crease in the polic­ing precept.

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